Location is not always the issue

Location is always a major consideration in starting any business. The golden rule is that businesses should be brought to the nearest and most accessible site to the target market. If the choice of a business’ site fails, the prospects of the business become worthless and unrealized.

An unwritten principle in business is that the presence of people always equate to business opportunities. This in effect has been a constant basis for starting entrepreneurs in choosing their business location. Reversing that rule, the absence of people equates to the absence of promising business opportunities.

Perfect examples of businesses that became successful by following this principle are the chains of SM Department stores to the food carts that sprouted in the different stations of the MRT or LRT. The regular influx of people gave the key to success to these businesses.

This classic principle may not always be the rule. Call it an exception, but I have seen a business that proved that the “location-nearest-to-the-target- market” principle does not always prevail. The case is best illustrated by the Marikina branch of Pan de Amerikana.

Pan de Amerikana is a restaurant and bakeshop that started in the late 2000. It’s first branch was situated in Marikina City. As of today, Pan de Amerikana has three other branches in Katipunan, Bel-Air Makati and Greenhills San Juan. All branches are found within the city.  It’s only the Marikina branch that I have visited. In effect,  this article will concentrate on such branch.

Pan de Amerikana did not follow the conventional belief that businesses should be located within the perimeter of the target market. This branch is particularly located in a highly residential area of SSS Village.  Across Pan de Amerikana is a grocery, public market, school and the rest is a residential village. A few blocks away from the site are hospitals and a series of different residential subdivisions again.  As you can see, how can you expect a restaurant to flourish in an area where people  are most likely to be found relaxing and spending quiet times with their families.

In my opinion, Pan de Amerikana made things happen for their business because of the following reasons.

1. Accessibility is the key – The site of Pan de Amerikana did not surpass the Marketing principle of getting nearer to your target market.  However, it’s location remained to be accessible to both the commuters and non-commuters.  Pan de Amerikana is found along the highway that promotes instant recall and recognition. Likewise, the place is easily accessed by both public and private transportation. Well, not really for private vehicles because apparently, the business still needs to find more parking space. For commuters, a jeepney or FX taxi that bounds to SSS Village will take you to Pan de Amerikana.

2. The place is already a commodity – The shabby and rustic facade is already a selling point of the restaurant. The architecture of the restaurant provides and leaves people with  interest and curiosity. Since the site of the business leads to a series of residential area, people who regularly pass by Pan de Amerikana develop recall and increased curiosity to the place. This curiosity later on translated to sales and more curious customers.

3.  Creating both specialty and variety – Pan de Amerikana offers variety of Filipino dishes from snacks to meals. Aside from the restaurant dishes, Pan de Amerikana prides itself for maintaining a bakery that produces Pandesal (a Filipino bread usually eaten for breakfast). People in the residential area will not always crave for restaurant food. But the presence of the common Filipino breakfast bread assured Pan de Amerikana of constant supply of customers. The bread they are selling is further specialized with its traditional and manual way of preparation.

Pan de Amerikana have proven that a feasible business location need not always to be in the city, where a constant volume of people are observed.  We have seen businesses located in highly populated spots, but were not able to capitalize on the volume of people influx. In like manner, we were left wondering why some businesses situated in far and remote places have become successful, despite the cost and incovenience that customers need to experience to reach them.  

Perfect location alone is not always the key to successful businesses.  The right mix of commodity, accessibility, speciality, distinction sometimes matters more.

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